Travel journey: 5th to 10th of August 2018
A long history of Jewish persecution – a stolen menorah – 12 young people – one vision
We met in Darmstadt and attended the “Sunday of Israel”, which is an event of the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary. From there we started our trip to Poland. Not everyone of our group could make it to the event, but still our part at the service about ReformaZION and the menorah project resulted in a lot of positive feedback. For everyone, who couldn’t be there:
In 70 A.D. the holy menorah was stolen from the temple in Jerusalem by the Romans. This and the empire of Constantine (300 A.D.) started the displacement of Christianity from Jerusalem to Rome and furthermore the whole substitutions theology. Now, we want to bring back a menorah as a symbolic act. For this we will make a menorah (as the location of the original is unknown) which we will bring from Rome to Jerusalem the next year. It is going to be a symbolic act for the acknowledging of the failure of the Christian church and moreover an act of asking for forgiveness for all the cruelties the church has done to the Jewish people, Gods chosen people. As a start we drove to Oswiecim, which means Auschwitz in German.
After Darmstadt we drove to the Erzgebirge to visit a biblical garden and stayed at a friend’s for one night. The next day, we continued our way to Poland. It is understandable that the citizens of the little place Oswiecim, don´t like the term Auschwitz. This name was given by the Germans in the second world war and everybody automatically connects it to the concentration camp, but nobody thinks of the pretty city Oswiecim.
The second day started and with it, the first tears came along. We visited the Schindler Museum in Krakow and got to know different Jewish destinies of that time. We got to know more about Schindler and his brave actions of saving about 1200 Jews. The Jews who needed to live in the Ghettos were less lucky. We stood in front of the wall of the former Ghetto, shocked and confronted with the question, how all of this could happen.
For the next day, the visit of the concentration camp Auschwitz and the death camp Birkenau was planned. In the morning we prayed that GOD will show us his heart in it. But how should he show us what he thinks about this horrible, deathly place? What does GOD think about a place where his chosen people were tortured and killed? We couldn’t even begin to fathom. We started to go from the concentration camp to the death camp. The way, thousand Jews walked before. Even the view on the building was wearing and strange. How was it for the Jewish people to arrive here? At the entrance we met up with our Poland guide. He brought us to a tower, from where we could see the whole camp. It is … huge. As far as you can see, you only see death. We looked down on the tracks, were daily more than 20.000 Jews were deported to the camp.
We walked to the barracks and the sky started to be dark. One barrack was worse than the other. Some places were built for 50 horses, but 400 Jews needed to sleep in them. The satanic guidance of the Nazis got more and more obvious.
We all were quite challenged. All of us needed to deal with all the things we saw and some of us as well with the history and identity of their ancestors. There was this one question hovering in all our minds: “How could GOD let this happen?” Afterwards we crossed the tracks, where all the Jewish people and other prisoners were unloaded and separated. Now we walked to the gas chambers. How many Jews walked this path? It started to rain. We arrived at the entrance of the gas chambers. The sky was black, and tons of rain fell on us. God let us feel his tears.
When we finally left the camp, the rain stopped and the more we left the camp, the sunnier it got. Then we drove a few kilometres to the concentration camp. We followed the guide through another gas chamber and a lot of barracks. He told us some stories that some of us might never forget… It is such a horrible place, there is simply no expression for it.
We planned to visit the block 27, the barrack of the Jews. Inside you can find a list with the names of all the deported Jews. You feel like it never ends. 6 Million out of 10 Million European Jewish people were killed painfully. Two Third of them in Auschwitz. Yad Vashem built the barrack, which honours the Jews that were killed in the Shoa. So, we sat in front of the building waiting after we tried to open the door for the third time. Some of us are e quite strong. We resigned to the fact that it is closed. Suddenly a random police officer appeared and walked to the door. He simply took the handle, opened it and said, “It is open.”. We walked in with a feeling of confusion. He disappeared just as sudden as he came. We still think, he was sent by God.
The next morning started with the news, Israel got attacked and the situation is comparable to the Gaza-war 2014. After some talks and prayers, we visited Roman, the pastor of the Shalom-church, which is part of the “March of Life”. There thousands of people walk the way from Auschwitz to Birkenau as a sign of remembrance. Afterwards we visited the Poland “Fountain of tears “. (https://fountainoftears.org/) Rick, the founder, is mason. His most popular work is separated in seven stations. In those, the last seven statements of Jesus during his crucifixion are connected to the suffering of one concentration camp inmate. The last figure is the risen King with the holocaust the inmate in his arms. With this Jesus, who was a Jew is connected to the millions of Jews during the Holocaust with his suffering. Rick connects something, that nobody ever did before in public. He made us think a lot. Probably he will make you think, too. The thought that Jesus not only carried all the sins of the world, but also felt the suffering of millions of Jews is hard to grasp. Through his resurrection, he was winning over all the sin and pain in the world. Through his death, the biggest blessing is offered to all human beings.
Laura / Salome